· Sub-standard infrastructure and facilities at many Tasmanian schools
· Students with disabilities and injuries the most affected
· Funds urgently needed to upgrade public schools
The Hodgman Liberal Government must urgently upgrade ageing infrastructure and improve disability access at Tasmanian schools.
Many schools in Tasmania are being forced to operate with sub-standard facilities including inadequate toilets and little or no access for students, parents and teachers with disabilities.
Montello Primary in Burnie is just one school in urgent need of funding for capital works. The school has been on the Government’s waiting list as a priority one for three years.
Labor Leader, Rebecca White, her Braddon colleagues Anita Dow and Shane Broad and Labor Candidate for Montgomery Michelle Rippon met with concerned members of the school community today.
“The main concerns are around access for people with disabilities and unsatisfactory toilets to cater for the 370 students,” Ms White said.
“It’s understood that parents of children with disabilities don’t even consider sending their children to Montello as the infrastructure is so poor. The school has many stairs and no lifts or ramps.
“Recently an uncle of one of the students was invited to a special event at the school but was left quite distressed after having great difficultly accessing his nephew’s classroom in his wheelchair.
“It is also quite stressful for students with injuries like broken ankles who can’t tackle the stairs to get to their usual classrooms so are forced to spend weeks with a different class and teacher.
Labor Member for Braddon, Anita Dow, said it was also concerning that children as young as five needed to walk 30 meters outside to access the toilets.
“This is concerning given they sometimes need to walk this distance in the pouring rain and unfortunately some of the younger children are unable to wait that long which can lead to distress for those children,” Ms Dow said.
“There are other toilets on site but these are located down two flights of stairs and are so dilapidated, the teachers are advising students not to use them.
“This is just one of many schools in Tasmania which urgently need upgrading to cater for people with disabilities and to ensure the facilities are up to a standard expected for our children, teachers and parents.
“In this day and age, these types of incidents are totally unacceptable and I have written to the Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff to encourage him to visit the school to see first-hand the current amenities and consider future infrastructure funding for Montello Primary School whether that be capital upgrade or redesign of the school.”
Rebecca White MP
Anita Dow MP
Labor Member for Braddon